Today, on a very special episode of Nice Price or No Dice, we look at, and judge, an old Willys Wagon I found while out on a road trip. Let’s see if the price has you all trippin’ as well.
While I may have initially railed against yesterday’s 2014 Volkswagen CC R-Line four-door being called a coupe — and a Comfort Coupe, at that— I think I’m over that imagined transgression. Many of you took little to no issue with that classification and even more liked the VW’s $8,871 price tag, oddly specific as it was. That resulted in some positive comments on the car and a solid 81 percent Nice Price win for the seller’s asking.
The COVID pandemic may not be over, but with enough precautions taken and loaded up on vaccine boosters and cabin fever, I once again feel ok going out for an extended weekend without experiencing the need to prep like I’m headed into the OR.
On the weekend before last, I did just that, taking a leisurely trip up the California coast to the Santa Ynez wine country so my wife and I could eat at one of our favorite restaurants — The Hitching Post II — and do some touristy stuff. One of the things I like to do when taking such trips is spotting as many cool cars as I can. On this particular jaunt, I caught an old MGA, a Model T fire chief car, and a 986 Boxster of about the same spec as my own.
While walking around the downtown of the small rural community of Los Olivos — in between marveling about how every other business is a wine-tasting establishment — that I also came across a cool restored 1962 Jeep Utility Wagon. That wagon, it just so happens, is also for sale. Discovering that, I naturally thought about all of you.
I snapped a bunch of pics so you all would get a good idea of the Jeep’s condition and then, returning home, I checked the area’s classifieds to see if it also was present there. Lo and behold, in addition to its wine country stop, the Jeep also makes an appearance on Craigslist.
Jeep debuted the Wagon in 1946 and continued the model’s production here in the U.S. for nearly 20 years thereafter. Production survived even longer in South America. I remember becoming interested in the model while watching Terry Thomas drive one to hilarious effect in the 1963 comedy It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World on TV.
This restored Wagon is almost the same color as the 1955 edition used in the movie and, Jeep being Jeep, the rest of it is nearly indistinguishable. Notable, however, is this Wagon’s excellent paintwork which features a subtle flame design on the hood and front fenders.
Not all of the Wagons were 4-wheel-drive, but as noted by the cool script on the side of its hood, this one just so happens to be. Power for those four wheels would have originally come from either a flathead Super Hurricane six or, maybe the later OHC Tornado six as that engine appeared in the Jeep this model year. Either would likely have been backed up by a Borg-Warner T-90 three-speed manual.
Part of this Wagon’s restoration involved giving the original drivetrain the heave-ho and replacing it with a Chevy 350 V8 and associated automatic transmission. There’s not much detail about either of those components, but the Craigslist ad does note that the radiator is new as well. The rest of the driveline should be made up of a Dana 18 transfer case, Dana 27 front axle, and a Dana 44 rear axle, the latter two of these elements mounted on study leaf springs. Updated wheels and new BFG tires make that all useful.
The interior has been redone in handsome gray mouse fur all around and there are seat belts for all the passengers. While converted to automatic, the Wagon still sports its clutch pedal and a tall shifter to mimic the original manual style. That’s a nice touch. Mileage? Well, the ad says there are 500 miles on the engine and with the restoration, the overall miles probably don’t matter all that much.
Now, I’ve included a number of pictures I took of the truck in Los Olivos, as well as a couple of shots the seller placed in the Craigslist ad since they show the engine and a better shot of the interior. The ad also shows the title to be clear.
One perk of my pictures is that they show the Jeep with a reduced $29,000 asking price. In the Craigslist ad, that’s still $500 more. We’ll go with the painter’s tape window sign since I saw that first and it’s lower.
What’s your take on this restored Jeep and that $29,000 price? Does that seem like a deal for a cool resto-mod that’s perfect for the wine country no matter where that might be? Or, does that price just give you the Willys?
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